They may both come from the cannabis plant, but is hemp oil the same as CBD oil? For people who are new to this wellness supplement, it’s natural to wonder why people use all these different terms if they’re the same. Well, the short answer is that they aren’t the same, but there’s more to it.
Yes, CBD oil and hemp oil are both extracted from the hemp plant, they both contain cannabinoids, and they are both sold as wellness supplements. However, the difference is in the formulation. CBD is just one component of hemp oil, and it can be isolated and sold on its own.
Cannabinoids of the Hemp Plant
Hemp has been a major part of folk medicine for hundreds of years, if not thousands. It has been shown to help people relax, find respite from pain, fall asleep, and even slow the advancement of harmful growth. However, this is the result of many different compounds working together, and they are known as cannabinoids.
Some cannabinoids have earned a prominent reputation in pop culture. THC is by far the most well-known, as it is the compound found in marijuana that gets people high. CBD, while not psychoactive like THC, can curb inflammation and stress while helping people fall asleep. Other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN have regenerative and antibacterial effects on users.
Thanks to modern science, any one of these compounds can be isolated into a dry powder form. Some CBD oils are formulated this way—vendors purchase isolate CBD in bulk, mix it with various oil products, and sell it as CBD oil. This isn’t necessarily the best way to get your CBD, though.
Keeping the Plant Matter Intact
The cannabis plant, like all other plants, uses a complex system millions of years in the making to spread its own seeds around and repopulate. How does it do this? By attracting predators. It might seem counterintuitive, but when the cannabis flowers are eaten, the seeds inside are transported and excreted elsewhere.
How does a plant attract predators? With strong fragrance and sweet flavor. Because there are so many plants out there for predators to choose from, the cannabis plant developed terpenes and flavinoids to stand out. These give hemp its distinct smell and taste. As a bonus, however, terpenes offer other benefits.
Each strain of cannabis will contain different terpenes. Some terpenes, like pinene, act as a bronchodilator that can help users breathe more easily. Others, like limonene, can help to reduce excess stomach acid. The list goes on and on.
Ideally, all hemp products will contain the terpenes that grew in the harvested plant. This helps the cannabinoids work to their fullest potential. However, some CBD oils won’t contain anything but one isolated cannabinoid, weakening the supplement and making it harder for users to get the benefit they seek.
CBD Oils with Terpenes
You could sum up the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil as a difference between terpenes and cannabinoids. In general, hemp oil undergoes less of a refining process, leaving more cannabinoids and terpenes intact. Sometimes, that includes THC, which can be a problem for anyone whose job requires them to submit to drug tests.
CBD oil is refined a little more. While it will contain trace amounts of THC, it usually isn’t enough to register as a significant component of the supplement. Broad spectrum CBD oils are your best bet for getting a product that contains as many different cannabinoids and terpenes as possible.
One advantage to buying CBD oil over hemp oil is that CBD oil is more likely to be refined and formulated for specific purposes. There are CBD muscle balms, facial serums, daily multivitamins, and other products suited for the different lifestyles of people out there.
The Difference in Texture & Composition
Hemp oil comes straight from the hemp plant. Plants produce oil, and it can be extracted in its essential form. As there is no CBD plant, CBD oil is an extract of hemp oil. In some cases, CBD is combined with non-plant oils like MCT oil so as to enhance its bioavailability (ease of access for your body).
When compared side by side, the most obvious difference is that hemp oil is usually cloudy while CBD oil is clear. Hemp oil can also have some plant matter that settles at the bottom of the jar. Plus, hemp oil is usually sold as-is. CBD comes in many different varieties, but hemp oil usually only comes as a liquid.
Why Quality Matters
If you follow wellness supplements at all, you’re probably familiar with its reputation as an industry with little oversight. It seems like every year presents a new case where a company or spokesperson makes claims about a product’s magical properties. The FDA just doesn’t regulate supplements the way they do with prescription drugs. There are pros and cons to this.
On the one hand, this makes it easier for vendors to get a start in selling their own high-quality products. Without all the red tape that can come with other sales businesses, CBD oil vendors can get their products onto the market faster and at a lower price.
On the other hand, this makes it easy for opportunists to sell low-quality products without much danger of a consequence. There are too many stories to count where someone bought the cheapest CBD oil they could find online only to find out it doesn’t work. In some cases, vendors aren’t even selling real CBD.
When you buy quality products, you achieve two things—first, you will have a product that is going to work well. Second, you’ll end up saving money by not wasting it on garbage.
So, how can you tell what works versus what doesn’t?
Start by only buying organic. This is an important step in ensuring your product was grown with care, rather than with whatever shortcut will get it out the door as fast as possible. Organic growers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, which can weaken products and possibly cause physical harm.
The next place to check is in the product’s lab report. These third-party reports document exactly what’s in your CBD oil, including how many cannabinoids are present and in what quantity. Perhaps more importantly is that lab reports alert you to whether or not the hemp was grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.